“Williams W” this is what was inscribed on the original St. George Church Memorial to those who lost their lives in World War One.  With such a common name and only one initial to work with we cannot determine with certainty the correct casualty referred to.  The following, however, have been found that have close links with this area.

The first three, brothers who all perished, were the sons of Arthur & Prudence Williams of 152 Bryants Hill, St George Bristol.  Arthur Snr. was born near Tintern in Monmouthshire, South Wales in 1880 he married Prudence Bailey from Hanham.  The 1881 & 1891 censuses record the family address as Jefferies Hill, Hanham  & the 1901 & 1911 as 152 Bryants Hill.  The 1911 census records 4 Williams’s boys working in the colliery (? Hanham Pit) a sister Ada; Laundry worker (? Willway’s) & another 11 year old Hilda no occupation presumably still at school.

Arthur George Williams

Service:                Army

Rank:                   Private

Service No:           5638

Unit:                     1st/4th Bn. Royal Berkshire Regiment.

1st/4th Battalion was a Territorial Force based in Reading August 1914 under the command of South Midland Brigade in South Midland Division on mobilisation moved to Chelmsford. On 31st March 1915 they landed in Boulogne. On 15th May the formation became the 145th Brigade in 48th (South Midland) Division.

In 1916 The unit was to take part in the Battle of the Somme.  It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on either side of the River Somme in France. The battle was one of the largest of World War I, in which more than 1,000,000 men were wounded or killed, making it one of humanity's bloodiest battles. It was in the midst of this conflict 14th August 1916 that 32 year old Arthur George Williams lost his life.

Arthur has no known grave but is Remembered with Honour on the Thiepval Memorial. Panel Reference :- Pier and Face 11D

Image from D R Crew collection.

William Sidney Williams

Service:                Army

Rank:                    Private

Service No:           32979

Unit:                     10th (Prince of Wales’s Own Royal) Hussars.

10th (Prince of Wales's Own Royal) Hussars. August 1914 : at Potchefstroom in South Africa. Recalled to England and joined 6th Cavalry Brigade in 3rd Cavalry Division at Ludgershall. 8 October 1914 : landed at Ostende. 20 November 1914 : transferred to 8th Cavalry Brigade in same Division. 12 March 1918 : transferred to 6th Cavalry Brigade in same Division.

William Sidney died on the Somme 9 March 1918 he was 25 years old. He is buried in the Tertry Communal Cemetery, Grave reference A.6.

Thomas Herbert Williams

Service:                Army

Rank:                    Private

Service No:           242100

Unit:                     9th Bn. Norfolk Regiment.

The 9th (Service) Battalion Norfolk Regiment was formed at Norwich in September 1914 as part of K3 and came under orders of 71st Brigade in 24th Division.  On 30 August 1915 : landed at Boulogne & on15 October 1915 was transferred with Brigade to 6th Division.

Thomas was to die on the first day of the Battle of St Quentin, (21 - 23 March 1918); this was the opening phase of the Battle of the Somme.

Thomas has no known grave; he is Remembered with Honour on the Arras Memorial Panel Reference Bay 3.

Image from D R Crew collection

Each of the three Williams brothers were awarded The British War Medal & The Victory Medal. "Scant consolation to their parents who had lost 3 sons to the war effort"

Abraham Williams

Service:                Royal Flying Corps

Rank:                   Air Mechanic 2nd Class

Service No:           125430

Unit:                     Reserve Depot (Blandford).

Abraham, born in Hanham during 1882, was the eldest chid of Thomas & Emily Williams & had seven siblings. The family had lived at Footshill (1891), Martins Lane Hanham (1901) & John Wesley Road St George (1918). Before joining the Royal Flying Corps Abraham was a boot maker.

Blandford camp, in 1918, changed from being the depot for the Royal Naval Division to being an 'Intake Camp' for the Royal Flying Corps which was at that time being reformed as the Royal Air Force, and a branch railway line was built to bring materials and personnel to the camp. The railway was linked with the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway line immediately south of Blandford Forum railway station and there was a daily passenger service to bring civilian staff to the camp from Bournemouth and the villages in between. At the end of 1919, however, the camp was closed and both the wooden huts built for the RN Division and the camp's railway line were removed. By the end of 1920 the site had been returned to agricultural use.

Abraham died of pneumonia on 31st March 1918 (The day before the RFC become the RAF) he was 36 years old. He was buried in Kingswood Wesley Methodist Burial Ground and is Remembered with Honour on a special memorial at Bristol (Greenbank) Cemetery. Panel 19.

Image from D R Crew collection.

Abraham did not qualify for any service medals & his family did not receive a war gratuity.


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

1881, 1891,1901 & 1911 UK census

The Long Long Trail